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TABLE 8-2 Effects of Acute Lewisite Exposure on the Mammalian Eye

Estimated Exposure

Species

Effects

Exposure time (min)

References

Vapor (mg/m3)

0.8

Man

No irritation (estimate)

Not reported

A.D. Little, 1986

1.0

Rabbit

Permanent lesions (minimum effective dose)

30

Gates et al., 1946

1.0

Man

Lesions

30

U.S. Army, 1974

1.5

Man

Severe (estimate)

Not reported

Gates et al., 1946

2

Man

Threshold of irritation

Not reported

A.D. Little, 1986

10

Man

Inflammation

15

Ottinger, 1973

10-30

Man

Irritation

1

A.D. Little, 1986

20

Dog

Permanent lesions (minimum effective dose)

30

Gates et al., 1946

Saturated

Rabbit

Perforation

22.5

Hughes, 1942

Vapor (mg·min/m3)

<300

Man

Median incapacitating Ct (ICt50)

Not reported

U.S. Army CRDEC, 1990

Liquid (mg)

0.005

Rabbit

Mild

Not reported

Wallen et al., 1943

0.01-0.02

Rabbit

Permanent damage

Not reported

Wallen et al., 1943

0.1

Rabbit

75% perforated

Not reported

Wallen et al., 1943

0.1

Man

Severe (estimated)

Not reported

Gates et al., 1946

12

Rabbit

Destruction

Not reported

Irwin, 1954

 

SOURCE: Adapted from Solana, unpublished.

  •  Immediate damage to the corneal epithelium, with edematous clouding and necrosis of the stroma.

  •  After five hours, dense infiltration of polymorphonuclear neutrophils at the sclerocorneal junction, extending into the corneal stroma.

  •  Clinical improvement of the opacity after five to seven days, with diminished edema of the stroma in less severe injuries.

  •  Progressive vascularization of the cornea extending in from the limbal vessels. This process may continue for several weeks.

  •  Persistent ulceration of the cornea for weeks or recurrent ulceration after a latent period of years.

Over 90 percent of patients exposed to sulfur mustard in World War I sustained conjunctival injury. Corneal changes were apparent in a much smaller group and were likely due to vapor, as opposed to liquid, exposure. All those exposed, however, had photophobia and blepharospasm. Hughes (1945b) divides these patients into three categories:

  •  Class I: about 75 percent had mild symptoms without corneal involvement.

  •  Class II: about 15 percent were moderately affected, the corneal



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